Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has targeted grassroots sports development across the state, as a tool to engage youth and divert them away from vices and crimes.
Kaduna state Commissioner for Sports Development, Prof. Kabiru Mato, who disclosed this when the leadership of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Kaduna state chapter paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday, added that the Governor has approved the establishment of neighborhood sporting centres in the state, while school sports and other grassroots competition would be revived to further develop sports in the state.
“Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has a zeal for sports development and is set to use sports development to quell youth restiveness. He has approved establishment of neighborhood sporting centres all over the metropolis for sports and social integration,” he said.
Professor Mato said that people are blessed with different potentials, hence the state would intensify sports development to harness the youth with sports potential. “We have different IQs, some are good in sports, so that they can dispense the surplus energy in such activities instead of using it in engaging in vices.
“We are collaborating with local government councils to partner with us. This is very important because 75% of our population are below 35 years. If we don’t engage this young people, we can’t sleep with two eyes closed. We promised to work with Sports writers to achieve success. We will be there to support you, so you can also be successful. Our relationship will be mutually beneficial to get the result we want,” he assured.
Kaduna state SWAN Chairman, Isaiah Benjamin said they were there to congratulate him on his appointment as Commissioner, to seek collaboration with the ministry and to intimate him of the tradition of sports Commissioner assuming the patron of the association in the state. He requested that all sporting associations should include SWAN members so that they can publicise their activities.
He further lamented that no team in Kaduna is participating in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), appealing that with with the state blessed with some of the best sporting facilities in country, it is important that the ministry supports a team to represent it in the League.
The Zonal Secretary North West SWAN, Alhaji AbdulRaheem Aodu in his vote of thanks, assured that SWAN Kaduna and national will always be at the ministry’s beck and call. “We are ready to assist and collaborate with you in developing sports in the state as key stakeholders.”
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Umar Kabir Ibrahim, Director of Sports, Yakubu Ibrahim, Special Adviser to the Commissioner, Alhaji Ismaila Lere, acting SWAN Secretary, Jacob Onjewu Dickson, Financial Secretary, Gbenga Abiola and Ex Officio, Shehu Abdullahi were also present.